Thursday, October 02, 2008

Private Joe Foo Wei Rong

Private Joe Foo was the full-time National Serviceman (NSF) who died while doing chin-ups in his military camp just two days ago. (report).

Yesterday, his father spoke to the media about his puzzlement that despites a 3-day medical leave given to Private Joe by a doctor, Private Joe still had to report to his camp. The question now is WHY Private Joe has to report back to camp despites being given a medical certificate and worse, the authorities involved him in a strenuous exercise session!

The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) is in the midst of investigating the matter and the allegations of Joe’s father.

It shudders me to see that some imperfections in the current system in Mindef may have to be tweaked only when some things go wrong or some innocent folk have to pay for that imperfection, that lapse with his precious life!

Some of the major accidents, incidents resulting from lapses or imperfections, which happened in the recent years as follows:

Commando dunking, resulting in the death of 2SG Hu En Huai
Crash of the RSN Courageous
2LT Li Hong Zhi, son of Prime Minister Lee, circumventing the ‘chain of command’ in reporting to higher authorities
Teo Min stealing a M16 rifle during guard duty and went Orchard Road and Geylang with the weapon.
Deaths in training exercises from fatigue, accidents and grenade mishaps.

For more reports

There is no perfect system in the world, even more so with the Singapore Armed Forces, where rank and power is in the hands of the SAF officers and superiors, some who wielded immense authority and command over the poor lower-ranking NSFs and played god. I have my fair share of near-deaths and misses during my National Service days due to some imperfect human beings and systems but luckily I survived and emerged stronger.

The Singapore National Service model is a good model whereby ordinary fit Singapore male citizens become protectors of our motherland and it gives me pride to see that Singapore may be just a little red dot on earth but our formidable air, sea and land forces serve as deterrents against larger nations with hostile means. How effective is this deterrent? I do not know? Only when a war comes, we would know. I am just afraid that the hardware is excellent but the software is not.

The National Service system has evolved for the better since the very early days when the tough Israeli soldiers were attached to coach our men. There are certainly imperfections in the current system. I hope MINDEF can review all aspects of the system, tweak the imperfections in it before another innocent life is taken away as a result of lapses.

Military training must be tough so as to be realistic but on the other side, it must be safe. This is balancing of the scales that MINDEF is always trying to achieve.

Let us await the results of the investigations by MINDEF in this unfortunate training accident!

No comments :

Total Pageviews